Sean Ramsden, chief executive, Ramsden International

Sean Ramsden IoD Director of the Year Awards

Over the Christmas and New Year period, Director is profiling the winners of the IoD Director of The Year Awards. Today we meet Sean Ramsden, chief executive, Ramsden International, who won the International Director Award

Over 20 years, the founder of Ramsden International – wholesale exporter of British-branded food and drink – has created an award-winning £45m company from scratch while also playing a key community role in one of Britain’s most deprived areas. So what are his secrets?

How would you describe your leadership style? Relatively relaxed and delegatory. I invest heavily in training, development and coaching. I have a clear view of what sets our company apart from others in the sector – we employ excellent people, develop them personally and professionally, and that is why we have excellent results.

What’s been the most challenging moment in your business life? When we lost our second-largest customer – we worked hard to replace the lost business, and managed to do so within a year.

How and where do you network? I attend a variety of industry and broader business events. It’s good to broaden your perspective, especially if you’ve spent 20 years in one company.

How has business changed during your career? In our industry, it’s become much more commercial and professional, and less about personal relationships.

Where do you get your ideas from? From keeping a broad perspective on business, and always looking out beyond our own narrow field.

How do you problem-solve? I’m a reasonable thinker, but faced with particularly thorny problems I’d always share with colleagues.

What’s the longer-term vision for the company? We’re now the UK’s top exporter of British-branded food and drink. I have a sustainable plan to be a world-leading business by 2019.
Sean Ramsden is a member of IoD Lincolnshire

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Director is the magazine for business leaders. Free to IoD members and available to purchase through subscription, each edition is full of insightful interviews with entrepreneurs and company directors.

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